20,000 acres of cashew crops damaged in Srikakulam

Cashewnut and coconut prices are feared to skyrocket this Deepavali as Cyclone Phailin left a trail of damage in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra Pradesh, one of the major production centres of the cashew crop.

Initial estimates in seven mandals (blocks), including Vajrapukottur, Palasa and Mandasa in Srikakulam, showed that cashew plantations in 20,000 acres had been washed away. The damage was up to 70 per cent in Sompeta, Kanchili, Kaviti and Ichapuram.

“Based on primary estimates, we believe the cashew farmer will not recover (from this loss) at least for two more years. the damage is extensive but the extent of it is not yet determined,” a district horticultural officer added.

In Uddanam mandal alone, 5.5 lakh coconut trees were flattened by Phailin’s ferocity during the initial hours of its landfall. Of these, at least 300,000 trees were totally uprooted, while the remaining trees could possibly recover.

According to revenue estimates, 30,000 acres of paddy in different stages of cultivation, 100,000 teak wood trees, 150 acres of aquaculture ponds with King prawns worth Rs 3 crore were damaged in Srikakulam, close to Gopalpur in Orissa.

Besides losing nearly five days of fishing, losses worth Rs 10 crore to nets, mechanised and manual boats hit the fisherfolk in the coastal villages in Ichapuram, Kaviti, Sompeta, Mandasa and Vajrapukottur mandals in Srikakulam.

In hamlets such as Battigallur, Ekuvooru, Nadumooru and Deonkalur alone, eight nets worth Rs 10 lakhs were damaged and the boats were covered with silt. According to the Relief Commissioner’s office, Ichapuram registered the highest rainfall of 19.8 cm.

In all, 33 cattle died, 18 houses were completely damaged and 55 partially, in Srikakulam, along with 8 houses in Vizianagaram and 3 in Visakhapatnam. Nearly 18 km of roads were also damaged.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Andhra Pradesh government said repair works to roads damaged in cyclones and other natural calamities since 2009 will be taken up at a cost of Rs 1,025 crore with the World Bank’s assistance.

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